Tag - stress management

Strategies for increasing self care and nurturance

July 24th is International Self Care day. What does this mean?  It is a day that reminds us about the importance of self nurturance.  A day to reflect upon and include a sacred practice that honours the Self, practices that become an integral part of your lifestyle which contributes to your well-being. Looking to increase your self care?  Self care is an ongoing process, a process that should be cultivated within each day.  A process that helps create calm and resilience as well as revitalizes your energy. Here are some ideas to that are all about taking time away from your day-to-day responsibilities in order to replenish your heart, soul, body and spirit —so that you can release stress and navigate your day with more joy.   1. Move your body. Why? Movement is medicine, it is one of the most effective tools for stress reduction. Physical movement boosts endorphins, a hormone that helps create a positive feeling in the body. Whether it’s dancing, kicking a ball around, running or biking. Find something that you like and just get moving!   2. Breathe!  This seems to simple, however if meditation seems challenging or if you are feeling a lack of time then focus on your breathing. Breathing with this focus creates a direct pathway to the heart.  After all the lungs cradle the heart.  With focused breath you can lower your heart rate and blood pressure as well as calm anxiety. Practice breath work - lengthening the exhale for a few minutes a day when in non stressful situations and trust that your body will know what to do when in a stressful situation.   3. Do not underestimate the value of a short nap or a visit to the nearest green space to just hang out in nature.  The benefits of either is that it gives your brain a chance to have repose.    4. Think positive thoughts.  When life is presenting lemons, try to get on the flip side of what is happening and make lemonade.  In other words, there are always creative solutions - enlist the help of a trusted friend if necessary - however know that talking it out with yourself and/or writing helps change perspective on the situation. Thinking positively helps recuperate from bad situations.  Affirmations such as those in my book Affirmations for Purposeful Living help to reinforce positive thinking.   5.  Unplug from your technology. Your phone can suck a lot of time and energy out of you. Having to deal with email and social media, is very demanding on your time and energy.   6.  Reduce your caffeine and sugar intake.  Caffeine and sugar can make the body feel constantly “on” and harder to relax, thereby creating a vicious cycle.  Ideally start to increase water intake.   7. Sit in silence. We live in a world where we are bombarded with extraneous noise.  Not to mention the noise in your head! Allow yourself to quiet the mind and to sit in silence and appreciate the peace of the moment.   8. Write a gratitude list throughout the day and review it before going to sleep.  You will soon notice that your mornings will be more joyful and your days will feel more centred.   9. Spend time with friends.  Social interaction with laughter is medicine for the soul.   10.  Spend time with self, take yourself on a playdate for at least a few hours a week.  A date without technology but just being in the present moment doing something enjoyable.  It can be a bath, it can be a good book or gardening.  We make playdates for our kids, or we had them when we were kids.  Now is the time to make them with ourselves.   These are just a few ideas.  Let me know in the comments below what you do to enhance your self care and nurturance.